Seneca County

Seneca County Fair celebrates 175 years

fair logoThis year marks the 175th Seneca County Fair, making it the second oldest county fair in Ohio. At seven days, it is also one of the longest county fairs in the state. The event features livestock exhibitions, live entertainment and other activities for people of all ages.

Seneca County Fair Board member Aaron Howell says this year will have several special features. “A glass-blower will be there, creating commemorative items for the event, there will be a raffle for rides on the Re/Max hot air balloon, and we have invited every previous fair king and queen we could find to a special dinner,” he said. “We’re even bringing back the cow chip throwing contest and dunk tank!”

The Seneca County Fair began 175 years ago as a street fair located first at Rock Creek, and later on Frost Parkway.  The fair found it’s permanent home on the current property, in 1885. Today, it sprawls across 80 acres and attracts 50,000 guests each year.

Every year, more than a thousand kids from across the county participate in the fair through 4H and the Junior Fair Board, exhibiting animals and hands-on projects they work on throughout the year. Additionally, there are children’s rides (only 50 cents per ride), a wide range of food vendors, antique farm equipment, and live entertainment every night of the week. There is live music in the entertainment building Tuesday through Sunday, with acts including Nashville Crush and the Eric Sowers Band, two nights of rodeo, harness racing, horse and tractor pulls, and more. This year’s demolition derby is on track to be one of the largest yet.

Admission to the fair is just $7 per day or $22 for the whole week. Veterans get a special discount on Monday and Seniors on Tuesday, just $2.

Tiffin and Seneca County win $220,000 for road improvement

20170629_151509.jpgGrant supports $1M commercial access project

TIFFIN, OHIO – July 5, 2017 – The City of Tiffin has been granted $220,000 through the Ohio Department of Transportation Jobs and Commerce for an improvement project on US 224; a 25 percent match with the city for a project totaling $1 million. It will provide access to a 60-acre site for potential commercial development annexed by the city earlier this year.

The grant is the first received by the Seneca County Transportation Improvement District (TID) created by Seneca County Commissioners in September 2015. “The district was put in place with the future of the county in mind,” Commissioner Shayne Thomas, head of the county’s transportation sub-committee, said. “This project is the first of many for which we plan to secure TID funding.”

Last year, Tiffin, Fostoria and Seneca County representatives collaborated to update and reprioritize the county’s Transportation Improvement Plan. Originally created in 2001, the plan was revised with a clear focus on key projects throughout the county. The revision was approved by all groups, as well as the TID Committee, composed of engineers, elected officials, and economic development organizations from each jurisdiction.

Charlene Watkins, Executive Director of Seneca Regional Planning Commission Executive Director commended the partnership between Seneca County organizations in securing the grant. “The foundation is in place and all parties are working to implement the plan,” she said. “We appreciate SIEDC’s work with different entities to gather information and submit the application, as well as the involvement of State Representative Bill Reineke and State Senator Dave Burke, and everyone else who had a hand in the process.”

About SIEDC
Started in 1983, the Seneca Industrial and Economic Development Corp. (SIEDC) is a private, non-profit corporation dedicated to driving positive economic, downtown, and community development in Tiffin and Seneca County, Ohio, which consistently ranks among the top communities nationally for economic development. Learn more about the great things going on in Tiffin and Seneca County at www.senecasuccess.com.

Seneca County to hold second Manufacturing Showcase

Local manufacturers to demonstrate skilled trades to high school students

TIFFIN, OHIO – June 27, 2017 – The Seneca Department of Job and Family Services/OhioMeansJobs is partnering with local organizations and manufacturers to hold Seneca County’s second Manufacturing Showcase on October 13, 2017 at the Heminger Center on the Tiffin University campus. The event is an opportunity for area students to learn about careers in manufacturing and participate in hands-on skill demonstrations.

Carol Kern of Seneca DJFS is looking forward to another successful event: “Last year we were able to introduce more than 700 students to skills used in manufacturing careers in Seneca County. With the feedback from last year, we are confident that we can provide another positive experience for students and local companies alike.”

The showcase will focus on six skills: team building, lean practices, employability, machining, supply chain and mechanical engineering/electrical trades/automation. For each skill, there are six spaces available for a hands-on demonstration.

Eleven schools within Seneca County will send nearly 800 students to participate in the showcase. The event will last a full day, with students split into one morning session and one afternoon session. Lunch will be provided at no cost.

Several manufacturers are already on board; Callies Performance Products, and The Mennel Milling Company of Fostoria have signed on as well as National Machinery, Webster Industries, and Toledo Molding & Die of Tiffin. If you would like more information, to make a donation, or to sign up for a space at the showcase, please contact Carol at 419.447.5011 ext. 322, or visit http://senecashowcase.wordpress.com.

 

DC Weld Tech to offer welding basics

Welding it togetherLocal welder Dave Clark is hoping to make a difference in his community with a training program for out-of-practice or aspiring welders. The aim of DC Weld Tech is to enrich the community by offering a cost-effective training program in the field of welding in a one on one setting.

From Dave:

“We feel this important to the community to offer a skilled trades training which will open to doors to those individuals looking to better themselves by obtaining a better job or if they choose to further their education in the field.

“We have been a family owned and operated welding and fabricating company for over 20 years. Now we would like to share what we have learned over those years with our community with our new company DC Weld Tech. This new venture will allow us to to give back to our neighbors by offering a skilled trades training program in the field of welding. This course will be cost effective in a one on one setting. These individuals will be able to obtain a job in the field, the knowledge to take a certification test, or to further their education at a higher level. Our hope is to be able to offer this course to anyone with a willingness to learn who may not be able to afford college and would benefit from a one on one setting.”

For more information, visit www.dcweldtech.com.

Ironwood Steak House to open in June

IronwoodA new restaurant, called the Ironwood Steak House featuring the Black Birch Bar, is planning to open in mid-June. The restaurant combines atmosphere and high-quality cuisine to provide an upscale dining experience in a comfortable setting. Located at the private Mohawk Golf and Country Club, the Ironwood is open to the public.

The menu is still being finalized but will feature traditional steakhouse fare and limited-time specials. The remodeled kitchen also boasts a broiler to quick-sear steak with infrared heat – technology used in many high-quality steak establishments. Local Chef Jimmy Jones, with more than 20 years in restaurant experience, will be heading the kitchen.

The dining room overlooks the golf course, providing beautiful views of the green through a wall of windows. There is also a private dining area that can be closed off for private events, and limited outdoor accommodations. Together, they seat roughly 140, with an area that could be used for small entertainment. Additionally, patrons can enjoy the Black Birch Bar, a full-service bar with a lounge area, located at the entrance of the establishment.

The Ironwood is the product of a partnership of more than 40 investors looking to bring a high-end steakhouse to Seneca County. The restaurant has been in the works for quite some time, with investors split into committees for everything from marketing to personnel, to get to the finished product.

At opening, the Ironwood will serve dinner Wednesday-Saturday, 5-10 p.m. Reservations can be made using OpenTable. Outside events can also book the Ironwood Catering Service.

A sneak peek at renovations:

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Obtaining a liquor permit

Department of Commerce SealThinking about starting a business that involves liquor sales, or adding liquor sales to an existing business? Here are some of the basics of filing for a liquor permit in Ohio.

The Ohio Department of Commerce Liquor Control Division is the state agency responsible for liquor licensing.  They issue new licenses and annual renewals, as well as transfers, for the 25,000 private Ohio businesses that are alcohol manufacturers, distributors, suppliers, retailers, and organizers of special events where alcohol is sold.

There are several different types of liquor permits depending on use, and a limited number of each type of liquor permit is available to each county/city based on population. A complete list and explanation of what is covered under each specific permit can be found here. You can check the availability of the permit you would like to request here, and search the database of permit holders here.

Once you have determined which permit you will need and its availability, you can fill out an application. There are two applications: new bar, restaurant or carryout (application here) and all other types of permits (application here). The Division provides a complete guide to the application process here.

Special permits available in downtown Tiffin:

In 2013, the City of Tiffin established a Community Revitalization District with the Division of Liquor Control, which created 15 liquor permits available within the downtown Tiffin district. These D-5L permits are restricted to the approved district and carry several requirements, the most notable of which is that the establishment be a retail food or food service business, serving beverages by the glass for consumption on premises, and whose food/meal receipts total at least 75% of sales. The addresses included in the district can be found here, and the requirements, as stated by the Ohio Revised Code, here.

Feasel’s invests quarter million in expansion

Feasel's 4Feasel’s Frame and Collision is adding new space and equipment to their auto-body shop on State Route 224 just West of Tiffin.

Jeff Feasel said the business needed new space, and they wanted the ability to offer more to their customers. “Over the last five years, each year has been better than the last,” he said.

20170421_134130The new, 3,600 square foot building will create seven additional bays for radiator repair and washing, house a new alignment rack, and provide additional work space. They will also use the space for spray-on truck bed liners, a service that no other Tiffin shop currently offers. The total investment in construction and equipment is roughly $250,000.

This new addition is the latest in a series of improvements to the business. Over the past four years they have installed a new, environmentally friendly paint booth, renovated their office, and added welding and aluminum repair to their services.

“I am excited to keep serving this wonderful community,” Feasel said.

The expansion is expected to be completed this July.

Feasel’s Frame and Collision is a family-run business started by Jeff’s parents, Rick and Jan, in 1984. To learn more about the business, click here.

Bascom Communications announces Full Throttle fiber optic internet service

20170420_083420.jpgBascom Communications announced last week a new, ultra high speed internet service provided via fiber optic line. They are the first company to offer such a service in Seneca County.

Press release provided by Bascom Communications:

Communications Company Offers New Service Over Fiber Optic Infrastructure
Bascom Communications Delivers Service Announcement and Presentation for Accelerate Full Throttle

Bascom, Ohio: Bascom Communications hosted an event to announce Accelerate Full Throttle, the service provider’s newest offering available to members May 1st. Full Throttle offers Gigabit-capable access over Bascom’s state-of-the-art, fiber-to-the-premise infrastructure, featuring faster download speeds and aggregate bandwidth. The service announcement and presentation on the social and economic impact of how fiber optic and Gigabit service from Bascom is propelling Seneca County forward took place on Thursday, April 20, 2017 in the historic Redwood Ballroom of Meadowbrook Park in Bascom, Ohio.

Bascom Communications has provided services to Bascom and surrounding communities since 1906. Bascom is a cooperative company and anyone with wired services becomes a member. Once a member, if Bascom has a strong year and posts a profit, the membership receives an allocation back to them in the form of capital credit refunds. Bascom serves around 59 square miles of service territory and covers 99.92% of its subscribers with fiber to the premise.

Bascom is one of only a couple providers in the entire state of Ohio, and the only in Seneca County, to offer a service of this magnitude. Many companies use Gigabit service as a marketing ploy but Bascom wants to have people utilize it. To accomplish this, Full Throttle features a metered-usage approach to bring down costs, which allows customers to pay for only what they need and never worrying about speed again, as opposed to traditional internet plans that utilize a smaller bandwidth model to keep costs and resources manageable. Residential customers will be able to choose between numerous, tiered-data plans including an unlimited option, while business customers who want and need it, can improve their productivity and efficiency with Accelerate Full Throttle Business Unlimited. Customers will be able to go as fast as their devices will let them and can and will in many cases see speeds up to 16-200 times faster than those they are used to currently through Bascom or their competition.

Select Realty merges with Bolte Real Estate

Press release from Bolte Real Estate

North Central Ohio Real Estate Firm Attains Tiffin Company

new nameBolte Real Estate, a fourth-generation, independently owned company based in Port Clinton, is pleased to announce its merger with Select Realty Group in Tiffin. With four offices currently throughout Ottawa and Sandusky Counties, the merger allows Bolte Real Estate to expand into the Seneca County area and strengthen its presence as a real estate leader in this region of Ohio.

Founded by Ann Bolte in 1936, Bolte Real Estate has maintained its commitment to excellence by taking a personal approach with its customers. With offices in Port Clinton, Clyde, Fremont and Catawba, the company has grown to become the largest independent brokerage in North Central Ohio.

Phillip Bolte and Renee Bolte-Stine, Ann’s great-grandchildren and current owners, bought the company in 2014 and have built a state-of-the-art real estate company while maintaining the family heritage and providing a distinctive personal approach to their business. In 2016, Bolte Real Estate achieved $93 million in real estate sales.

“What excites us about this merger is the opportunity for greater brand recognition throughout the region and access to more tools, training and a larger leadership team,” said Phillip Bolte.

“Also, we feel that our merger will allow us to better help our clients ever growing and evolving real estate needs while also giving back to the communities we represent.”

Co-owner Renee Bolte-Stine is a Tiffin native who graduated from Columbian High School in the early 1990s, along with her husband Cory Stine. “For my family, Tiffin is a part of our heritage so the expansion of Bolte Real Estate into this area is exciting from a business aspect and rewarding on a personal level,” said Renee Bolte-Stine.

Select Realty Group’s office at 23 S. Washington Street will remain open and the only noticeable change will be the name on the building. Owners Fran Andersons and Sara Riesen founded Select Realty in April of 2012 with three agents and quickly grew to be a dominant name in local real estate. Today, there are nine agents who work for Select. Both Fran and Sara will remain in leadership positions once the merger is complete.

Sara Riesen explained that even though the name Select Realty will change, their commitment to their clients will not. “Our team will remain the people that the community has come to know and trust,” she said.

All owners agree that the merger of Bolte Real Estate and Select Realty Group evolved because of a mutual respect among professional colleagues who became friends. Sara explained, “I’ve known Phillip and Renee for a long time but got to know Phillip even better when we served on the board of directors for the Firelands Realtor Association. They were very helpful to us when we began our business, offering advice and support. When the discussion eventually turned to the possibility of ‘teaming up’, it seemed like a natural fit for all of us.”

Philip added, “Our philosophy of working hard, treating people right and having fun will be strengthened by having a larger team across a larger area engaged in the real estate business and committed to our family’s heritage of excellence.”

Tiffin Aire at the Seneca County Airport

20160907_151604Tiffin Aire, Inc. is the company that runs the Seneca County Airport, located at 1778 W US 224 in Tiffin. The company is owned by Brad and Kim Newman, the second generation of the family-owned business. The airport is a unique asset for Seneca County and Northwest Ohio.

The Seneca County Airport is a 24-hour fueling station, a propeller shop, an airplane storage location, an FFA pilot examination location and testing center, an aircraft sales location (one of only three in Ohio), a chartered flight provider and more. The business has 33 employees including pilots, front office, and technically skilled positions in the airplane frame and propeller shop.

The company was established in 1965 and dedicated in 1968 by Kim’s parents, Dwight and Jeanne Gnepper. It began with only three employees, two single engine aircraft, two hangars, and an office. Over the years, the Gneppers expanded the business, selling it to the Newmans upon their retirement in 1989. By 1996 Tiffin Aire offered aircraft charter, flight instruction and rental, aircraft sales, aircraft maintenance, parts and oil sales, and propeller/governor sales and service.

Tiffin Aire is one of only 13 propeller shops in the entire country. The prop shop was built in 1997 for $750,000, with another $500,000 in equipment. They service all kinds of propellers, and perform inspections and mandatory “overhauls” every six years. There are no chemicals used to strip the paint from the parts, reducing waste, and all grinding of the blades is done by hand.  They are also able to repair wings, and about once a year, they restore an antique aircraft, like an airplane from the 1940’s sent down from Canada that is currently in one of their hangar bays.

The airport currently has 18 separate hangars, the most recent built in 2015 for $400,000. There are 52 planes based in Tiffin, and storage at the Tiffin Aire facility includes oil, fuel, service and a private hangar. Brad says a lot of their business used to come from local business owners keeping their own private planes, however, that is not the case today.

Over the last several years, they have seen their charter business grow. “We have a great location for people coming into town, or stopping over for repairs,” he said. “We’ve got a great network with the businesses in Tiffin, and customers can walk to local restaurants and stores.”

One way Brad would like to increase traffic to the airport and to Seneca County is through a runway expansion. The current runway is 4,000 linear feet. In order to entertain commercial flights, it would need to be expanded to 5,000 feet. The closest airport able to accommodate commercial flights is in Findlay, which does not offer as many services as the Seneca County Airport. “We’d all benefit from a longer runway,” Brad said.

While the runway expansion is in the works, it could be years before the project begins.

Another way the airport benefits the community is through the Federal Excise Tax. For every gallon of airplane fuel sold, 21.9 cents goes to a tax fund that can only be used for airport improvements. This tax applies whether you purchase fuel at an airport, or if you purchase a ticket on a commercial airline. Since 1989, Brad has collected $4 million from that fund, which provides a 90/10 split on improvements, saving the county money as well as bringing funds spent by citizens back to Seneca County.

Brad attributes the business’ success to great community support, and giving back to the community. “I always tried to make my own way and didn’t ask too much,” he said. “And I always supported our local companies and vocational schools.”

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